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Healer
4 people found this review helpful
Feb 26, 2017
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 10
Healer. Wow. This drama has been on my "To be watched" list for a long time, and it kept just being something I didn't want to start. Then I started watching The K2, which also stars the ridiculously charming (no, seriously, it's criminal how charming this man is) Ji Chang Wook. Unfortunately, just about every single character I encountered in six episodes I've seen so far of The K2 has been despicable. Which is not to say that it isn't a fine show, just that I can only take so many doses before I have to walk away for a while. Contrary to that, Healer is filled with delightful characters that really inspired me to care about what was happening to them. Did I mention that Ji Chang Wook is inhumanly charming? He embodies the character of Healer, a "night courier" who does shady work for high pay. It also has Park Min Young as the spunky girl reporter with a mysterious past (well, to be fair, most everyone in this show has a mysterious past) with whom he falls in love. This one is a lot of action, a lot of political drama, some family drama, and a bit of lovely romance thrown in to season it all with hope. Ji Chang Wook is a joy to watch in action scenes. And non actions scenes. And gratuitous shirt-less scenes. And cute falling in love scenes. And hot kissing scenes. And outraged black-hat-turns-white-hat (though really he was always more of a grey hat than a black hat) scenes. And devastating emotional loss scenes. He'd probably be a joy to watch in reading the phone book out loud scenes, truthfully. Throw into the mix Yoo Ji Tae as the intrepid, famous, successful investigative reporter and add some truly outstanding supporting cast members, such as the ever versatile Kim Mi Kyung as Healer's hacker ahjumma, and the outcome is a very engaging race to the finish line.

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My Father is Strange
3 people found this review helpful
Aug 28, 2017
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 10
I love this show. Love it. Wholeheartedly love it. This is a family drama centering on the Byeon family. The titular father in this case is Byeon Han Soo, father of four children: ne'er do well oldest child, Byeon Joon Yeong (who is on his third attempt at passing the civil servants exam), oldest daughter Byeon Hye Yeong (a hyper competent, over achieving, tough as nails lawyer), middle girl child Byeon Mi Yeong (an insecure job seeker who was a former judo athlete and then also a former fat girl in high school), and youngest daughter Byeon Ra Yeong (a yoga instructor and Pretty Girl (tm)). Coming into this mix is actor Ahn Jung Hee - who is notorious for being a bad actor and whose father is Byeon Han Soo - but the Byeon Han Soo we know has a secret he's been hiding for 35 years. Jung Hee comes looking for his father, as he takes to heart criticism of his acting and he wants to find out for himself the feelings that he's struggling so hard to portray in his acting. Partnered with Byeon Han Soo is his wife Na Yeong Shil, who is a party to his secrets, and has stood by him faithfully for more than 35 years.

Being a family drama, this story also centers around the love interests of the main family members, and the trials and tribulations of the extended family as well (such as the brother, sister-in-law, nephew, and mother of Na Yeong Shil). The story lines in this one definitely have twists and turns, but lack the absolutely soul crushing series of bad events that some family dramas seem to get bogged down in. All of the various romances are delightful to watch, and each episode (even ones that end in sad or suspenseful cliff-hangers) left me with warm fuzzy feelings that made me eager to go to the next episode. I highly recommend this one. And man am I in love with Lee Joon as Ahn Jung Hee in this show.

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The Great Wall
3 people found this review helpful
Apr 17, 2017
Overall 8.5
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 8.5
Music 10
Rewatch Value 8.5
Okay, I liked The Great Wall quite a bit, actually. It was gorgeously filmed (which I fully expected, given my experience with Chinese cinematography) and vibrantly colored. The action scenes were beautiful. There was a touch of 'What this place needs is a honky' but not nearly so badly as I feared from when I first saw trailers for it. The Chinese have a flair for epic fantasy and hopefully we'll be able to avoid another world war, so we can see more joint Chinese-Hollywood projects in the future.
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While You Were Sleeping
4 people found this review helpful
4 days ago
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 10
Rewatch Value 10
I really enjoyed this drama.  Lee Jong Suk is wonderful as Jung Jae Chan.  Suzy does an admirable job as Nam Hong Ju - a lot of people like to bag on Suzy, which is unfortunate.  She's not the strongest actress out there, but I think she shows steady improvement and this show was no exception.  I especially loved hers quip with Jung Hae In's Han Woo Tak - their chemistry was delightful and that it was much more a "friendship" chemistry really keeps it from being Another Second Lead Syndrome kind of show.  And Jung Hae In... man, I just want to shrink him down and carry him in my pocket for sad, rainy days. He stole every scene he was in. There were a host of actors in this show who often play supporting characters or guest characters and whom I always enjoy.  The strength of the supporting and guesting players really rounded out this show for me.  I freely admit that when I first heard the title, I was sort of expecting a remake of the Sandra Bullock movie (which, hey, is one of my favorite rom-coms, so that wouldn't have sucked), but I'm actually really glad that it was not.  This premise could easily have gotten bogged down in what-ifs and paralyzed inability to act because of "destined outcomes," but the script deftly avoids those pitfalls.  I loved how intricate all the connections were.  The last episode was all the feels all the time. All in all, this was a really sweet show.  It had just enough suspense and set-backs to keep me guessing sometimes, but was never so bogged down in complications that it felt oppressive.

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The Liar and His Lover
2 people found this review helpful
May 10, 2017
Overall 7.5
Story 7.0
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 7.0
Lovely Love Lie (AKA The Liar and his Lover)

The alternate title sounds racier than this show actually is. It's a music industry story line with a girl in a high school band (think 19 years old) named Yoon So Rim (played by Idol Actor Joy from Red Velvet) and the superstar kpop producer Kang Han Kyeol AKA K of Crude Play (played by Lee Hyun Woo) who meet coincidentally several times and end up falling in love. There's also the base player from the fictional group Crude Play, Seo Chan Yeong (played by Lee Seo Won) who ends up being the producer for So Rim's group. There's some minor love triangle plotting going on, but mostly it ends up about being the trials and tribulations of the musicians - conniving music company execs, dating scandals, and industry scandals galore. Since it is technically a high school drama, it remains pretty firmly on the chaste side of things romance-wise. I feel like the story lost a bit of focus as it picked up various subplots and then dropped them just as quickly in several instances, but it remained cute and entertaining throughout. Even with several hardships thrown in for various characters, it never really loses its upbeat rhythm. Special shout out to UNIQ's Kim Sung Joo as Yoo Shi Hyun, the lead vocalist of Crude Play, and Jang Ki Yong as Crude Play's drummer Ji In Ho. There was never a point when I was watching where I felt like I was wasting my time, but there was also not really a point in the drama where I was overjoyed. This one's pretty middle of the line.

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Noble, My Love
2 people found this review helpful
Apr 8, 2017
Overall 7.5
Story 7.0
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 7.0
Noble, My Love

I just re-watched this little web-drama. There's a fair amount of Problematic Patriarchy inherent in some of the common tropes in k-dramas and this web-drama is chock full of it. I remember being much more enamored of the drama the first time I watched it, but this time around, I was much more aware of how off-putting (and even alarming) the controlling behavior of the main lead would be if this was "real life" and not a drama. That said, I still enjoyed watching this show. It has Sung Hoon as Lee Kang Hoon, an arrogant and closed off CEO type who falls for Kim Jae Kyung's character, Cha Yoon Seo, a poor but stubborn and plucky Veterinarian who saves his life. There's a contract relationship - I'm a sucker for a contract relationship story-line - and sparks fly. Because of the web-drama format (episodes are short, typically between 12 and 20 minutes in a web-drama), this show is almost like what would happen if you stripped out only the main love-line story from a full length drama and tacked it all together without any of the side plots or secondary character lines. Because of that format, character development suffers a bit here. When I first watched this show, I rated it as 8 out of 10. On re-watching, I would rate it 7.5 out of 10, because the controlling behavior and jealousy of the main lead was more off-putting this time around. (There's a hint of a back story as to why he is that way, but since it is never fleshed out or really explored, he doesn't get to hit that satisfying "humanizing" arc that full length k-dramas with this type of lead get to have.)

Still, I'd recommend this if you're looking for something light and quick (assuming you can get over the Problematic Patriarchy). (Not to fear! The presence of Problematic Patriarchy does not, in fact, cheat you out of your moments of Feminine Gaze and Sung Hoon shirtless for Very Important Plot Reasons and not just gratuitously - okay, sometimes gratuitously.)

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Love in the Moonlight
2 people found this review helpful
Mar 12, 2017
Overall 9.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 9.0
Moonlight Drawn By Clouds. This lovely little gem stars Park Bo Gum as Crown Prince Hyo Myeong and Kim Yoo Jung as Hong Ra On, a young woman who has spent most of her life passing as a boy and ends up, through various bits of misfortune, serving in the palace as a eunuch. Of course, they fall in love. There's also Jung Jin Young as Kim Yoon Sung, former childhood friend of the Crown Prince and hapless second lead who knows the girl's secret before everyone else, and Kwak Dong Yeon as Kim Byung Yeon, also a childhood friend and now the Prince's bodyguard and right hand. It's a historical drama, so politics are everywhere, convoluted, and deadly. Birth secrets sprout like mushrooms after a rain storm. Through it all, Park Bo Gum and Kim Yoo Jung are adorable. It's nice to see Park Bo Gum in something where he's not a sociopath or locked into a limited range of emotion. The story is not ground breaking, covering a lot of common sageuk tropes, but the actors are so delightful it doesn't matter.

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Fight For My Way
2 people found this review helpful
Jul 14, 2017
Overall 8.5
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 9.0
This drama focuses on four friends who grew up together and are now in their mid-20s, struggling to recapture the dreams of their youth. Ko Dong Man (played by Park Seo Joon, of the very pinchable cheeks) is a former Taekwondo athlete who suffered a defeat at the top of his game and is now a 20-something guy getting by on his somewhat soul-crushing, mediocre part time job. His best friend is Choi Ae Ra (played by Kim Ji Won), the undeniable boss of this quartet, who dreams of being a new anchor but has to live with her job as a greeter in a department store/mall. Her roommate and other best friend is Baek Seol Hee (played by the adorable Song Ha Yoon), whose dream in life is to be a wife and mother, and who has been dating and half living with her boyfriend of six years, Kim Joo Man (played by Ahn Jae Hong - what a teddy bear), while she works as a customer support rep for a home shopping network. Joo Man works for the same company, but as a producer/buyer for the food segments on the home shopping network. While the story line follows Dong Man and Ae Ra's movement from friends to romantic partners, Seol Hee and Joo Man face the break down of their six year relationship.Throw in a surprise birth secret in the last third of the series for a bit of added flavor. This show was a lot of fun to watch - though I often find Park Seo Joon utterly delightful, so I'm not surprised. When hilarity ensues, it is very well done. The pacing is a bit off, as the ending felt a little rushed in comparison to the slow set up at the beginning of the series. There's also an early on plot line that felt almost entirely pointless, though thankfully it's wrapped up pretty quickly and never mentioned again once it's done.

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Chicago Typewriter
2 people found this review helpful
Jul 1, 2017
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 10
Wow. What can I say about this show? I finished it a while ago and have been sitting on writing a review because I loved it so very, very much. It has a great cast, wonderful atmosphere, and a really interesting story line. It's interwoven lives - past and present - and is set in both modern day and in 1930s Korea during the Japanese occupation. Yo Ah In plays Han Se Joo, a Stephen King-esque level writer in the modern day who finds himself struck with writer's block after a stalker almost kills him. He meets Im Soo Jung's Jeon Seol in the present life, a veterinarian and former Olympic level athlete in shooting, who is also his number one fan. Introduced to this is a ghostwriter Yoo Jin Oh (played by Go Kyung Pyo) who has a secret. The three (and most of the important people around them) are all linked by their past lives in the 1930s as resistance fighters during the Japanese occupation. The story kept me guessing quite a bit of the time, which is not always the case in k-dramas, and the atmosphere was spectacularly done. All the modern day characters have abodes that overflow with books, which was a visual touch that I found very appealing, while the historical segments brought that past era to life. There is love, intrigue, scheming, conflict, struggle, loss, and triumph. The music in this drama was also wonderful and engaging. I really can't recommend this drama highly enough.

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Introverted Boss
2 people found this review helpful
Mar 15, 2017
Overall 9.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 10
Rewatch Value 9.0
My Shy Boss (aka Introverted Boss). I just finished this drama and found it utterly charming. It stars Yeon Woo Jin as Eun Hwan Ki, the CEO of a PR firm who suffers from crippling social anxiety. Park Hye Soo plays Chae Ro Woon, the irrepressibly outgoing young woman who ends up falling in love with him. The story struggles a little bit to find its footing in the early part of the series, especially as Chae Ro Woon pursues a revenge plot and spends some time doing things that will make you go 'who /does/ that?!?' but that resolved itself pretty quickly. The crux of this story is all about lack of communication and miscommunication. There are some fairly tragic outcomes due to people's inability to communication their feelings. Even with those, the show itself manages to keep a pretty upbeat feeling and wraps up adorably.

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Feb 12, 2017
Overall 10
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 10
A while back, I watched Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo. I didn't exactly have a high bar set for it when I started it, but it was a thoroughly delightful series. It was funny and touching. The leads had great chemistry. It was a the kind of school based love story drama that seem to be a common theme. And it was entirely engaging. Lee Sung Kyung as the lead, Kim Bok Joo, was wonderful and poignant and funny in the role. I loved that her character was brash and loud and uniquely herself. And Nam Joo Hyuk as rising star swimmer Jung Joon Hyung was everything I wanted him to be. And he loved her thoroughly as she is and didn't seek to change her. Plus his sub story was heart wrenching. I highly recommend this show.

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Last Cinderella
1 people found this review helpful
Sep 13, 2017
Overall 8.0
Story 7.5
Acting/Cast 8.5
Music 7.5
Rewatch Value 8.0
This was my first Japanese Drama, as such, I spent a lot of time going 'oh my god, did they just do that?!' because it's definitely more "mature" than what I usually see in k-dramas. :) The story is primarily about Toyama Sakura, a hair stylist who is about to turn 40, who ends up dating a much younger man (Saeki Hiroto, who is some 14 or 15 years her junior). She also works with Tachibana Rintaro, who has been her friend for a long time. The obvious triangle is set up, but the story keeps you guessing right up to the very end. The cast in this drama is very appealing and I really enjoyed watching it. At 11 episodes, it felt like a quick and light little drama. There are a couple of points where the story line was a little murky for me, but overall it was a fun watch. It has something of a Sex and the City vibe to it, though certainly way more tame than that.

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Second to Last Love
1 people found this review helpful
Aug 14, 2017
Overall 7.5
Story 6.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 6.0
This seems like a kind of hybrid between rom-com and family drama. It's refreshing that the main romance/story line is about a couple in their forties, which is a nice break from all the 20-something and 30-something romance dramas. Kim Hee Ae plays Kang Min Joo, a successful television producer, and Ji Jin Hee plays Ko Sang Shik, a safety minded civil servant. Sparks fly when the two of them clash. The extended cast in this drama is delightful and really flesh it out. Unfortunately, the pacing is tedious. I really did like the story, but there were far too many 'if you people would just take five minutes to /talk/ to each other' frustrating moments. It took me almost a full year to watch the show, because the pacing was just so off. Which is really unfortunate, because like I said, the cast was superb.

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Chief Kim
1 people found this review helpful
Apr 5, 2017
Overall 9.5
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 8.5
Rewatch Value 10
Chief Kim AKA Good Manager

Oh Namgoong Min. What can I say? I love this man. He's a delightful actor. In Chief Kim, he plays Kim Sung Ryong, a former accountant for mobster types sort of turning over a new leaf. His character is smarmy and over the top and utterly lovable. This show is very much about corporate politics and corruption and the redemption of two men. I was a little bit worried that they were going to make it into a basic love triangle, but was actually really satisfied when that ended up not becoming the case. The second lead in this show is really Lee Jun Ho as Seo Yool, who starts out pretty darn despicable and rotten and is the foil for Namgoong Min's Chief Kim. Nam Sang Mi plays Yoon Ha Kyung, who thankfully ends up not being paired off with anyone. The plot lines and evil corporate shenanigans in this show are very often over the top in an almost makjang way, but just when it seems like this show is going to jump the shark, they reel it back in to the final, satisfying, rush to the finish line where the evil are punished, the good are rewarded, and the somewhat grey move forward with turning their lives around. It wraps up very satisfyingly and I was actually really pleased that it pretty much lacked a romance plot line. It didn't need one.

Even smarmy and over the top, Namgoong Min is pure joy to watch. I'm pretty sure he'd be on my list of actors that I'd pay to watch read the phone book.

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Like For Likes
1 people found this review helpful
Mar 13, 2017
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 10
Like For Likes. This South Korean movie really reminded me of Love Actually in the set up and tone. It's basically three interweaving romance plot lines that link together based on the overlapping relationships among the characters. It has Yoo Ah In as Noh Jin Woo, a Hallyu star who just completed his military obligation and is looking for his comeback project, and Lee Mi Yeon as Jo Kyeong Ah, the drama writer who put him on the map and with whom he had a one night stand as one couple. The second couple is Kim Ju Hyuk as Jung Sung Chan, a restaurateur who has a wide network of friends and acquaintances, and Choi Ji Woo as Ham Joo Ran, a flight attendant and his landlord, who end up sharing a home as roommates. The third couple is Kang Ha Neul as Lee Soo Ho, an adorably awkward and naive songwriter/composer who is hiding something, and Lee Som as Jang Na Yeon, the forward, bold woman for whom he has fallen. All the cast in this are great, but Kang Ha Neul's story line was particularly well done. Two thumbs up.

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